Boehner’s Rules: I Only Punish Corrupt Colleagues When It’s Politically Advantageous

boehnermouth.jpgIn May, after the FBI raided his Northern Virginia home, Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) was forced by his Republican colleagues to step down from his seat on the House Appropriations Committee. At the time, Roll Call reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was seeking “to enforce a tougher ethical standard in the 110th Congress.”

In his column tomorrow, Robert Novak will report that Boehner is now coming under fire from “reform-minded House Republicans” who say he has “a double standard” for rank-and-file members of Congress and GOP leaders embroiled in federal investigations, after ruling that Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) can keep his seat on the Appropriations Committee despite being investigated:

In a secret meeting Wednesday of the House Republican leadership, Minority Leader John Boehner ruled that Rep. Jerry Lewis of California will continue as the party’s ranking member of the Appropriations Committee while under federal investigation on ethics charges. That widened the gap between Boehner and reform-minded House Republicans, including members of the leadership. […]

Republican reformers complain that Boehner imposes a double standard that is harsher on rank-and-file members of Congress than on leaders. While Lewis keeps his leadership position on Appropriations, Rep. John Doolittle left the committee in April because he is a federal corruption target.

Lewis is under investigation by the Justice Department “in part” because of “a lobbying firm that hired some of his former staff members.” The investigation has been repeatedly stalled, however, by attorney departures and budget shortfalls.

Boehner’s record of rewarding and protecting corrupt members of his caucus makes it clear that his claim of a “tougher ethical standard” is just a PR stunt. After Doolittle was forced to step down, Boehner replaced him on the committee with another scandal-plagued congressman, Rep. Ken Calvert.